Monday, 4 February 2008

Listen To The Music

The other day I found myself enjoying some music. That means getting into it and feeling transported rather than feeling like crying.

I'm so impatient to be able to listen to music again, really listen and enjoy. Three years is a long time to live in silence. So I'm making it happen, a bit like forcing bulbs into flower by bringing them into the warm. It doesn't feel quite natural but I want to burst out, I just can't cope without music any more. Trouble is, at times I still can't cope with it.

I've been experiencing a random selection of transient musical moments in recent weeks. Songs that I try and listen to and have to turn off. Songs that I rediscover by accident looking for something else. Music that I deliberately seek out, knowing I will smile, cry, whatever. Music in my head (a constant) that I've recently started to actually find and play, to release it.

Tori Amos has proved too much, especially because her stuff for me is all tied up with past and present grief. But I still love her complexity and the way she pours herself into the piano. Bjork is a constant source of beauty and wonder. Ditto Cocteau Twins. I love the simplicity of Sufjan Stevens, and the bland but soothing Zero 7. Beth Orton, Lou Reed, Moby and Mika have all been floating around. Debussy, Beethoven and Chopin just make me frustrated I can't play the piano for any length of time, so I'm not ready for them yet. I am seeking alternative (but not so fave) classical stuff from the remnants of my memory. Satie, Faure, Prokofiev, Glass, Bernstein, Copland, Rachmaninov, (never could play his stuff properly anyway), Grieg, Schubert, Bach, Bartok.

New discoveries on the contemporary front have included Sigur Ros and Cat Power, among others I'm not so sure about yet. And that's just by messing about on itunes. I'm finding it very hard and very strange to be trying to connect with music again when I can't listen to it 'out there', outside the house, in a pub or club or cafe. More than one source of noise and I can't make sense of any of it - the conversation I'm supposed to be having, the background hum of a cafe, let alone the music that may be playing.

My friend came over at the weekend and we were playing Scrabble. I was doing rather well, with music in the background, until something I really, really loved came on. Then I couldn't make any sense of the letters. I could only listen to the music. I still won, by one point. My friend was playing upside down, to even things out a bit. My head feels like a completed Scrabble board that's been dropped on the floor.